In a unanimous vote, the Smithfield Town Council has approved a special use permit from businessman Frank Lee to operate a greenhouse inside a warehouse for the purpose of growing hemp.
The warehouse is owned by Mr. Lee and located at 1219 S. Brightleaf Boulevard near the intersection of Holding Street. The request was on the July agenda of the Smithfield Town Council but at the last minute was postponed until the August town board meeting.
Lee was given permission to use an existing 70,739 square foot warehouse to grow hemp. The facility will include a high-tech indoor cultivation facility for growing, curing and handling hemp for industrial and medical purposes. 46,903 square foot will be used as a growing and cultivation area. There will be 5 cultivation rooms with each holding between 250-400 hemp plants, and a conditioned space with special artificial lighting to produce a more perfect growing environment.
The remainder of the warehouse will be used for curing, labeling, processing, handling and storage. A 400 square foot office area is proposed inside the warehouse.
Three hemp crops will be grown each year. Lee has a three year permit which will expire in 2022 unless renewed.
The hemp greenhouse will be developed in phases. A security system will also be installed.
The entire process is closely monitored and regulated by the NC Department of Agriculture. The NCDA is charged with permitting, inspecting, and regulating the growing of hemp for medical and industrial purposes.
Mr. Lee was represented at the public hearing by Selma attorney Chip Hewett.